I came across a book recently.
The book's preface had the following text from the author.
"...there is something basically wrong with the thinking and action of the Indian people."
The author adds...
"I pondered some of the basic facts and problems related to India. Its people are no less intelligent, strong, and healthy than those of other nations. Its climate and natural resources are ideal for national growth and prosperity. The country has the basic technological knowledge for industrial and agricultural excellence. But having all these, why does India remain an impoverished country in which millions cannot eat well, cannot afford shelter, and cannot get adequate education and health services?"
The book that I read was the result of the above question from the author. Since my question was also exactly the same, I was very interested in this book.
The answer the author found was shocking to me.
The concept of a single God as Almighty and Supreme was introduced to India in 800 A.D.
Not Man but God was held to be Supreme.
Man could do only what was predestined by God. There was Heaven and Hell. Man possessed a soul which did not die but was reincarnated according to past and present deeds. The Brahmans were superior to all castes and the word Brahman was synonymous with Brahma and all the divinities.
Christianity and Islam did not borrow concepts and teachings from Hinduism. It was the other way around.
India went through a dramatic change in 800 A.D.
India entered the Dark Ages.
According to the author...
"As is the level of thought in a nation, so is the level of its progress. The rate of progress is the same as is prevalence of thought. This holds true for a nation, a society, a community, a group, or a single individual. Where the level of thought does not rise, the society, the nation or the entity does not prosper."
According to the author...
"The national thought pattern of India can be summarized in the following words:
Work without caring for the results.
Act, but do not look for the fruits of action.
Desires cause dukha(sorrow); therefore, do not have them.
You get only what fate dictates.
Material wealth is inferior; spiritual life is superior.
You should strive to achieve unity with God for a happy life, to go to heaven, and to be reincarnated.
Man is predestined and cannot do anything unless it is willed by God.
Sorrow, pain, and misery can be removed only by God, not by human effort."
Looking at India now, with the above things in mind, you see that even today, in many places in India, this holds very true.
Lets take one example.
Sorrow, pain, and misery can be removed only by God, not by human effort.
If something like a Tsunami that stuck the nation on December 2004, had had happened few hundred years ago, where the communication between the different parts of the world was nowhere near where it is now, what would the people have thought?
They would have thought that the Gods are angry and the Gods sent waves and they would have done some poojas and rituals to calm down the angry Gods.
There is no way that people would have really tried to investigate and find out why such a thing happened.
There is no way they would have connected the earthquake which happened hundreds of miles away to a Tsunami. In fact they would have thought Gods were angry with Indonesia too!
Would India have behaved the same before 800 A.D.?
Probably not. The thought pattern of India was different before 800 A.D.
These are the few things that happened after 800 A.D.
Religion merged with politics. There was no separation of the church and the state.
The caste system was made more rigid and discriminatory.
Philosophical and practical teachings were completely distorted.
The pragmatic qualities of Yoga were completely replaced by religious, spiritual, and mystical preoccupations.
No foreign power was able to conquer India before 800 A.D.
So what happened around 800 A.D.?
What influenced the thought pattern of India eventually changing it?
The Indians derived this thought-pattern from scriptures and teachings based on those scriptures.
And the most important of them all, which influenced the people, is the scripture what we now call 'The Bhagavad Gita'.